南条兵衛七郎 (d. 1265)
A lay follower of Nichiren and the father of NanjoTokimitsu. A retainer of the Kamakura shogunate, he governed Nanjo Village in Izu Province, Japan. Later he moved to Ueno Village in Fuji District of Suruga Province. As steward of the village, he was also called Ueno. He married a daughter of Matsuno Rokuro Saemon, and they had five sons and four daughters. Sometime between 1260 and 1264, while on an official tour of duty in Kamakura, Nanjo met Nichiren and converted to his teachings. Later, when he became a lay priest, he took the Buddhist name Gyozo (Practice Increasing). In 1264 he became ill and was confined to bed.
Concurrently, in the eleventh month of that year, at Komatsubara in Awa Province, Nichiren was assaulted and wounded by a party of men led by TojoKagenobu, the steward of Tojo Village and a staunch believer in the Pure Land teachings. On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, one month after the Komatsubara Persecution, learning about Nanjo's illness, Nichiren wrote him a letter of encouragement in which he urged Nanjo to strengthen his faith in the Lotus Sutra without being disturbed by his relatives who still upheld the Pure Land teachings. It is said that he died on the eighth day of the third month, 1265, and maintained strong faith in Nichiren's teaching until the end. At that time, his second son, Tokimitsu, was seven years old, and his youngest son, Shichiro Goro, was not yet born. Grieved at his death, Nichiren traveled from Kamakura to Ueno Village to offer prayers for his repose. His wife and family carried on the practice of Nichiren's teachings, and Tokimitsu in particular contributed greatly to their perpetuation.